Researched by: Nirmal Bhansali & Anannya Parekh
The wrestling #MeToo case: The latest update
The context: Since January, Indian wrestlers have been protesting alleged widespread sexual abuse in the sport. And it starts at the top—with wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh—who is also a BJP MP. For details on the sexual abuse, see our Big Story. The protest was suspended in June after the government assured the wrestlers that a charge sheet against Brij Bhushan will be filed.
What happened now: We now have the chargesheet filed by the Delhi police against Brij Bhushan—who has been charged with outraging a woman’s modesty, sexual harassment, and stalking. Of these, ‘outraging a woman’s modesty’ is both a cognizable and non-bailable offence. That means he can be arrested without a warrant—and kept in prison without bail. Indian Express has lots more details on each charge.
A big prediction about India’s future
Ok, this isn’t happening anytime soon—but it is always good to hear. According to Goldman Sachs, India will overtake the US to become the world’s second-largest economy by 2075. We are currently at #5. One big reason why we will whiz past the likes of Japan and Germany: our low dependency ratio:
A country’s dependency ratio is measured by the number of dependents against the total working-age population. A low dependency ratio indicates that there are proportionally more working age adults who are able to support the youth and elderly.
In other words, that good ole ‘demographic dividend’ of being a relatively young country. Our Achilles heel: the labour participation rate—especially that of women: “A mere 20% of all working-age women in India are in employment.” CNBC has lots more on the report.
Yet another migrant boat tragedy
The context: The EU has been swamped by refugees since 2015. Countries like Italy and Greece have been doing their best to keep the migrants out—often leaving them to die out at sea in crowded boats. On June 14, a fishing boat carrying 750 refugees capsized off the Greek coast—and only 104 survived. Many suspect the tragedy was caused by negligence of the Greek Coast Guard.
What happened now: Three boats carrying migrants left Senegal in late June and headed toward Spain’s Canary Islands—but soon disappeared. A Spanish aid group raised an alarm—and the Spanish Coast Guard began a search. It has now rescued 86 people from a boat—which may or may not be one of the three missing vessels.
Why this matters: The Atlantic migration route is one of the deadliest in the world, with nearly 800 people dying or going missing in the first half of 2023. Many of these boats are never found or even documented. Quote to note: Here’s what the mother of two of the missing migrants said: “Imagine if there (were) 300 American people missing at sea. What (would) happen? Many planes will look for them.” (Associated Press)
The great Russian mutiny: Plot mein twist
The context: An armed mutiny led by Vladimir Putin’s bestie Yevgeny Prigozhin on June 23 started with a bang and ended in a whimper. Just a few miles outside the capital, Prigozhin suddenly turned back—and brokered a deal with the Kremlin—which allowed him to flee to Belarus while his soldiers received amnesty. Our Big Story has lots more details on the failed mutiny.
What happened now: In an odd twist to the plot, the Kremlin revealed that Putin had a cordial meeting with Prigozhin and his commanders five days after the mutiny. The Wagner men explained why they rebelled, reaffirmed their loyalty to the president—and they are ready to continue fighting for the Motherland. Even more interestingly:
Prigozhin was meant to leave for Belarus under the terms of the deal that ended the mutiny. But Lukashenko said last week that Prigozhin was back in Russia and that Wagner fighters had not yet taken up an offer to relocate to Belarus, raising questions about the implementation of the agreement.
All of which will confirm the suspicions of cynics—who claim the mutiny was “staged” to make Putin look good. (Reuters)
Foxconn divorces Vedanta India
The context: Back in 2022, Foxconn—best known for making all things Apple—signed a deal with the Indian oil conglomerate Vedanta to set up a semiconductor factory in Gujarat. This was part of the $10 billion initiative by the government to encourage chip manufacturing in India.
What happened now: Foxconn has pulled out of the project—leaving Vedanta to move forward alone. The company did not offer a reason—merely noting that the decision was “mutually agreed.” Why this matters:
“This deal falling through is definitely a setback for the ‘Make in India’ push,” said Neil Shah, Vice President of research at Counterpoint, adding that it also does not reflect well on Vedanta and "raises eyebrows and doubts for other companies."
Two other deals to manufacture chips in India have also stalled. Reuters has more on why the deal fell apart.
Threads’ hard pass on news
As we noted in our Big Story, Meta has no interest in encouraging politics or news on any of its platforms. Its Twitter clone Threads won’t be any different—as Instagram head Adam Mosseri bluntly spelled it out:
Politics and hard news are important, I don't want to imply otherwise. But my take is, from a platform's perspective, any incremental engagement or revenue they might drive is not at all worth the scrutiny, negativity (let's be honest), or integrity risks that come along with them. There are more than enough amazing communities — sports, music, fashion, beauty, entertainment, etc — to make a vibrant platform without needing to get into politics or hard news.
Mosseri claims the platform won’t down-rank news—but as long as Meta’s algorithm is in charge of sorting your feed, don’t expect to see much of it.
This is not good for either the producers or consumers of news—both of whom have become entirely reliant on social media to play middleman. Reminder: there is no way to order your feed to only see content from accounts you follow on Threads. FYI: Threads now has more than 100 million users within days—breaking the record recently set by ChatGPT. (The Verge)
Sarah Silverman sues OpenAI
The comedian and two other authors have sued OpenAI and Meta for copyright violations. The reason:
The suits alleges, among other things, that OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Meta’s LLaMA were trained on illegally-acquired datasets containing their works, which they say were acquired from “shadow library” websites like Bibliotik, Library Genesis, Z-Library, and others, noting the books are “available in bulk via torrent systems.”
How do they know this? When prompted, ChatGPT obligingly summarises their books. They also point out that they did not give their consent to these companies to use their books. Why this matters: this is just one among a flood of lawsuits challenging how tech companies profit from other people’s content without paying a penny. Example: Getty Images is suing Stability AI for training its image generator on millions of images protected by copyright. (Reuters)
Two things to see
Meanwhile, in Delhi, the government is getting ready to evacuate residents as the Yamuna river breaches 206 metres. It is currently at 204.63. See a poor man struggle to rescue his drowning motorbike below. (Mint)
Two: With ‘Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ releasing later this week, fans are already lining up to pay their tribute. Going viral: this brilliant xylophone-themed video being falsely attributed to French digital artist Victor de Martrin. Hey, some fakes are awesome too.